Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Expert Interview

For my expert interview, I spoke with Dr. Will Sampson, the professor of my abnormal psychology class. He began the meeting by introducing the disorder to me with a general definition and then summarized DSM-IV checklist for the diagnosis of the disorder. Before we got to the good stuff, he also gave me some interesting statistics, such as the fact that 90% children diagnosed with ADHD are boys and 35% - 60% of them continue to have ADHD as adults.

My main research topic is on the cause(s) of ADHD. Dr. Sampson answered this question by telling me about various theories, some of which I had already learned about on my own. This was a positive thing because I could easily understand what he was talking about and could give my own input as well. Today, clinicians generally consider ADHD to have several interacting causes. Abnormailities in the frontal-striatal regions of the brain and high levels of dopamine are the main answers from a biological point of view. High levels of stress and family dysfunction also have recieved some research support. Dr. Sampson also talked about sociocultural theorists who suggest that ADHD symptoms and its diagnosis create further problems and produce additional symptoms in a child. Finally, Dr. Sampson talked about a few other possible causes that have less research to back them up. These include exposure to television, sugar and additives, and environmental toxins.

Speaking with an expert on the subject solidified my own opininon on the causes of ADHD. Based on Dr. Sampson's objective answers and my own research, I think that that biological abormalities are the main causes of ADHD. In cases where other causes are evident, biological factors still provide a predisposition to the disorder. That is, if a child was diagnosed with ADHD because of stress and family dysfunction, he probably already had an abnormality in his brain.


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